Is this an excess of technology? A small gadget just for the hardware and fashion enthusiasts, which will be forgotten after a few years? The fast development of high tech clothes suggests that it’s not the case. More and more tech features are being stuffed into various clothes. The most popular choices are hoodies and jackets, and one of the new features are earphone jackets. Now, you can literally wear your music.
Before we get into details about the headphones, it’s worth discussing some other features — especially due to the fact that they’re all interconnected.
First of all, earphone jackets usually come with other types of functionality than just the earphones themselves. It’s an advanced, high-tech product which leaves a lot of room for such features as pocket or back heating (which is provided by specially designed heating pads embedded directly into the clothing and powered by a rechargeable battery), smartphone charging option (via wired or wireless means), and even some IoT functionality (controlling these two features with a mobile app).
This context is important to understand that technologically advanced jackets are products with a lot of history. They’re designed for such groups as professional and non-professional gamers and tech enthusiasts. Of course, the target audience is not limited in any way just to these groups, but the majority of customers happen to express their interests in these particular fields.
With this knowledge in mind it’s easy to see that an earphone jacket is not just an interesting, one-season addition to the mainstream fashion, but rather an attempt to further develop and push boundaries in such a fascinating product category as high tech clothing.
Let’s not be apologetic and carefully analyze this relatively new type of product. From the technical standpoint, its purpose is similar to a normal jacket — it protects you from bad weather, and can add some elegant look into your wardrobe. At the same time, it can play your music. But how does it work exactly?
Although not all models and variants of such a product utilizes the same type of technology, one thing is certain: it has to have some wires and means for connection with your phone or other type of device. The most popular solution for wiring is embedding them directly into one of the elements of the jacket — the strings. It’s quite a natural solution, since a wire-shaped element is already introduced in the traditional versions of some jackets.
Now that we’ve established where the earphones are, it’s time for the connectivity aspects. It turns out that there are two options. The first one is to have a traditional minijack cable, which connects the earphones with your smartphone. The cable is put through inside of the jacket and ends in one of its pockets. Although this way may seem very reliable, some years have passed since 2016 — the year when iPhone 7, the first popular smartphone without a minijack, was introduced to the market.
The case is not lost for the headphone jackets, though. As we’ve said earlier, some of the jacket models are heated and possess a large-capacity rechargeable battery. And if that battery can power a smartphone charging function with no problem whatsoever, why not do the same with Bluetooth earphones embedded into the strings of your jacket? It’s an easy, convenient and quite ingenious solution.
A jacket with earbuds can come in handy basically for anybody. Not everybody is a tech enthusiast, but almost everybody uses a smartphone. Certainly not everybody is a bookworm, but most people like to read a book from time to time. The same goes for such products as earphone jackets — you don’t have to be an audiophile to enjoy such a convenient solution as music built into your clothes!
Let’s start with the most obvious cons. Probably most people have at least once lost their earphones. The wireless ones are notoriously easy to drop and forget, it’s a little more difficult to do in case of the wired ones, but a lot of people still lose them. An extremely naive reasoning would be that it’s a lot harder to lose your jacket than a pair of earphones, right? So, basically, if you have a jacket with headphones built in, you literally are not able to forget them anywhere.
The second, very important characteristic and a con of this piece of fashion is the fact that it’s waterproof. That’s right — you don’t hear about truly water resistant earphones, do you? The reason that these one must meet this standard is very simple. Every jacket, even a high tech one, has to be washed from time to time. That’s why such manufacturers have decided to make waterproof earphones than to force users to disconnect them with every single wash. Convenient? Certainly. It’s also good to know that the water resistance applies to all of the jacket, not just the earphone strings. This makes such a product a great choice for some sports activities like jogging.
If there are any cons of this product (or is it a device?), it’s really hard to name one. The sound quality for podcasts or music listening is absolutely satisfying thanks to great membrane engineering. There are high hopes for the future in respect of this product — such audio manufacturers as Denon or JBL could cooperate with a jacket manufacturing company. The results of such work would probably be an instant hit on many levels — not only among gamers and tech enthusiasts, but in the wide audience too.
Let’s answer the question from the beginning: is such a product an excess of technology? Most definitely it is not. It’s just one of the market laws — incorporation of more and more functions due to fast technological development. Back in the day, Google used to just search the web. Nowadays, it owns YouTube, created the most popular mobile system in the world, and it searches the web. It's a similar case to the jacket: a traditional one used to protect you from cold. Nowadays, they play music, heat your hands, protect you from COVID (sic!) and can be converted into backpacks.